Dawn Johnson Pro-Abortion Nomination Likely Sunk With Scott Brown Victory
by Steven Ertelt
January 20, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The election of Scott Brown has significant consequences on the promotion of a government-run health care bill that funds abortions. But his victory in the special Senate election in Massachusetts also has a bearing on key pro-abortion nominations from President Barack Obama.
The nomination of Dawn Johnsen to a key Justice Department position will likely be greatly affected.
Johnsen, a law professor at Indiana University, is a former legal counsel for the pro-abortion group NARAL whom Obama tapped to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
Republican lawmakers had opposed Johnsen over her rabidly pro-abortion position and because of other political issues, such as terrorism. With Brown making a strong anti-terrorism platform a part of his campaign, political observers suggest Johnsen’s nomination is likely dead.
Johnsen originally found herself the subject of a Republican filibuster supported by a couple of Democrats, but when pro-abortion Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter caved in to a Democratic primary opponent and flip-flopped to supporting her, the Obama administration signaled she would be renominated.
In comments to Roll Call, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska said he didn’t think Johnsen’s nomination stood much of a chance now. He previously cited her pro-abortion record as a reason for opposing her.
I don’t know if it’ll be brought up, he said.
Also, Roll Call indicated Committee for Justice Executive Director Curt Levey said in a statement that Scott Browns election means her nomination is now likely dead in the water."
Paul Mirengoff of the conservative Power Line blog suggests the Brown win has consequences for Johnsen.
"The prospects for Dawn Johnsen’s confirmation as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel took a hit last night," he writes. "Specter had said he would support Johnsen, whom he had previously opposed, it appeared that Johnsen might have the necessary 60 votes. But once Brown takes his seat, she will probably max out at 59."
"I say this knowing full well that Brown will not invariably vote with Republicans. In fact, if he serves long enough, he might one day be considered a RINO. But Brown is rock solid on treating terrorists like terrorists," he continues.
Johnsen been delayed by Republicans who oppose her because she is strongly pro-abortion — going as far as saying pregnant women are subjected to a form of slavery — and because of other political reasons.
Senator Dick Lugar, an Indiana Republican who mostly votes pro-life, is also supporting Johnsen and may be the only Republican to do so.
If confirmed, Johnsen would be in charge of the office that formulates the attorney general’s formal opinions and provides counsel on the thorniest legal questions.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas helped lead the opposition to Johnsen in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which approved her nomination and sent it to the full Senate. He has said Johnson "has not demonstrated the seriousness and necessary resolve to address the national security challenges we face."
Because Senate Republicans are essentially filibustering Johnsen’s nomination, it will require 60 votes to confirm her for the influential post.
In a brief filed when she was a lawyer with NARAL, Johnsen cited a footnote that said forcing women to bear children was "disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude, prohibited by the 13th Amendment, in that forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest."
Johnsen told lawmakers at her hearing that she merely suggested an analogy in the footnote and "never believed the 13th Amendment had any role" in the abortion issue.
The pro-abortion activist has come under fire for calling women "fetal containers" and comparing pregnancy with slavery. She has also come under fire for labeling pregnant women "losers in the contraceptive lottery" and comparing pro-lifers to the Klu Klux Klan.
Johnsen was the Legal Director for NARAL from 1988-1993. After that, she served in the Clinton administration as the Acting Assistant Attorney General heading the Office of Legal Counsel from 1997-1998 and as Deputy Assistant Attorney General from 1993-1996. She also served on the Clinton transition team in 1992.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Johnsen last February, where she received a party-line 11-7 vote in favor of moving her nomination to the full Senate.
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